Virus and Worms are the malicious programs, which enters our computers through CD’s, Pen drives, email attachments and the files we download from the Internet. Both have some similarities and dissimilarities between them. One of the major differences is that Worms do not require any human action to replicate while Viruses replicates as soon as the user runs the infected file.
The malicious softwares are known as malware, which is broadly divided into two categories: one which needs a host program and others which are independent and don’t need a host for their execution.
Viruses, logic bombs, and backdoors are the example of fragments of programs that require host program and cannot exist solitarily. Worms and zombie programs are examples of self-contained programs that don’t need the host and can be executed by the operating system automatically.
Content: Virus Vs Worms
|Basis for Comparison||Virus||Worms|
|Meaning||The Virus attaches itself to executable files and transfers from one system to the other.||A Worm is a malicious program that replicates itself and can spread to different computers via Network.|
|Human Action||Needed||Not Required|
|Speed of Spreading||Slower as compared to Worm||Fast|
|Requirement of host ||Host is needed for spreading.||It doesn't need a host to replicate from one computer to another.|
|Removing Malware||Antivirus, formatting||Virus removal tool, formatting|
|Protect the System using||Antivirus software||Antivirus, firewall|
|Consequences||Corrupt and erase a file or program.||Consumes system resources and slows down it, and can halt the system completely.|
Definition Of Virus
A virus is a software program that can link itself to the executable files of a computer. It can replicate itself and modify the file to which it is attached and seeks for the other programs appended to that file. It then infects other programs simultaneously leaving a copy. At last, it reloads the original copy of the file, which makes it undetectable.
A virus usually carries its instructional code in order to generate its perfect copy. The infection can spread in the whole network connection. It causes damage to an extent at which the damage could be recovered if good backup and recovery procedures are employed.
It tends to harm the system by various means such as:
- Using the disk space,
- Completely erasing the hard disk drive,
- Modifying personal data, text files,
- And can even bring the computer to a halt.
A virus requires a host, to attach and spread throughout the system. All Viruses are Man-Made and aim to harm the target computer.
Phases of Virus
- Dormant Phase – At this stage, a virus is in its idle state. It gets activated by some action or event such as a date, time, presence of another program.
- Propagation Phase – In this phase virus generates its copies.
- Triggering phase – This phase activates the virus to carry out the required function.
- Execution phase – In this phase, the virus performs the actual function which may be harmless or destructive.
Types of Virus
- Parasitic Virus – These type of viruses attaches itself to executable files and replicates itself.
- Memory resident virus – These types of viruses attach itself to a particular area of the main memory and then it infects each file that is executed.
- Boot sector Virus – The main target of this virus is the master boot record of the disk. It infects the master boot record and begins to spread at the time of booting.
- Stealth Virus – This virus has the built-in intellect which prevents it from discovering by antivirus software.
- Polymorphic Virus – These types of viruses frequently alters its signature (Identity) at every execution which makes it difficult to identify.
- Metamorphic Virus – This virus is similar to the polymorphic virus but has additional functionality. It keeps on rewriting itself every time including changing its signature.
Definition Of Worms
Worms are self-replicating files that reside in the memory of an infected computer. It often disguises itself as system files to avoid detection. It is similar to a Virus by design and a sub-class of it. Worms differ from a virus in some way where it can be triggered automatically without any human action.
Propagation of worms
It spreads through one computer to another via email, network, etc. Worms can transfer itself from one computer to another by using the user’s email address book. It may cause the system resources to slow down or completely halt the task.
The computer worms could spread through the following manner:
- Files found in email attachments.
- Through a web link or FTP resource.
- Links received through the ICQ and IRC (Internet Relay Chat) message.
- Via peer-to-peer file sharing networks
Key Difference Between Virus And Worms
- Worms use Computer Networks to spread itself while Viruses spread to different systems through executable files.
- Spreading speed of a Worm is faster than a Virus.
- The virus tends to damage, destroy or alter the files of target computers, whereas, Worms does not modify any file but aims to harm the resources.
- The virus needs human action to replicate, whereas Worms don’t.
- Worms are independent files that exist within the memory of an infected computer, whereas, Virus are executable files or attach themselves to other executable files to operate.
- The Virus needs hosts to spread while Worms do not require any host.
- Virus corrupts or modifies the data on the target computer, whereas, Worms harm the network by consuming the bandwidth, deleting files or sending emails.
How to prevent your system from Computer Viruses and Computer Worms
- Installation of Anti-virus software and firewall is the primary way to protect your computer.
- Monitor the potential data exfiltration.
- Update the operating system and softwares regularly.
- Enable notifications and alerts.
- Observe and inspect file and user behaviour.
Virus and Worms both are the types of malware which are mainly designed to damage your system or to breach your system’s security. Although, the severity of damage could differ in both virus and Worm.
The virus includes modification in file or program while worms don’t commit any changes in file or program; instead, it replicates itself again and again.